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The culinary evocation of 15 Elder Street, Spitalfields

These Holiskes would make my Jewish Grandmother proud.

Really busy getting everything together for my next culinary adventure at Dan Cruickshank’s house in Spitalfields.

Today I am making the Pheasant Terrine with Calvados and sauteed Apples. It smells delicious.

here a little taster:


The culinary evocation of 15 Elder Street, Spitalfields
A gastrogeographical journey in 7 courses
Tonight we dine with the ghosts hidden in the layers of history.
By eating the food of this place we connect with it on the most intimate level.
We become part of it.

Roman Spitalfields
A Raw Estuary Oyster served with pickled Shallots, Ale and Pepper
Dickens’ Sam Weller remarks, ‘Poverty and oysters always seem to go together’.
Hungry Spitalfields
A Dish of Nothing
A large disaster cemetery was built at the end of the road in 1120.

Ambergris and Angelica Root incense is lit.
Monastic Spitalfields
Warm Winter Pears and Goatscurd with local Honey from Steve Benbow.
He used to sell his honey in Spitalfields Market,
where in 1197 St. Mary’s Priory is built.
Pears picked fresh from the orchard. We sit in the prior’s orchard garden.
Tudor Spitalfields
Freshly Shot Pheasant Terrine with Calvados and Apple
served with freshly baked St. John’s bread.
The Honourable Artillery Company take over much of the ground. Mind the lead shots.
Huguenot Spitalfields
Burgundy braised Beef Cheeks with Baby Leeks and Horseradish Cream
1727. The House was built. French calvanistic culture takes hold. Silk weaving is the main industry.
Unfold your napkin with drawings by Marenka Gabeler, the current female inhabitant of the house.

A Menorah is lit.
Jewish Spitalfields
Geshmack Holishkes are served
Just as the Eskimos have nurmerous words for snow so do the Jews of eastern europe for stuffed cabbage …
Interlude Vesta Tilly. The greatest male impersonator of the Music Halls.
Who is believed to be related to the former inhabitants and may have stayed here.
Blitz Spitalfields
Beetroot Cake served with German late Harvest Riesling Icewine “ frozen while still on the vine.”
The Ministry of Food’s leaflet No. 40 “use the sweetness of beetroot to make a pudding with little sugar”.
Dan’s Spitalfields
A glass of Single Malt Whisky served by Dan Cruickshank
Raise a glass to Dan Cruickshank,the current inhabitant of the house.

a little culinary history devised by Caroline Hobkinson
London, Spitalfields 30th of January 2012



In preperation of the Feast on Thursday.


As Paul the Octopus is on the menu. I tested him panfried with some jiucy chorizo.

I thought eating the dethroned German mascot for a starter of our feast would be very fitting.


  • I whole Octopus
  • uncooked Chorizo
  • Garlic- as many cloves as you can handle
  • Olive oil and lemon juice

Fry the Chorizo with the crushed garlic and oil until done, add the Octopus, cut into small bit. Add some saffron strand dilluted in hot water and fry for 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon over it.

Yum. (I asked him for a wheeterforecast first though before ripping his tentakels out one by one.)

I feel ♥

What is it with Valentine’s and hearts?  Have there been any studies done to prove that love is somehow connected to the heart?

The heart is such a prosaic organ if there ever was one. It pumps blood in and out, day in day out.  And if it gets a bit rusty- you get a bypass. If I feel love I feel it in the stomach. In the form of either gentle flutters of butterflies or a full on roller coster that makes your palms sweat like onions on pan. A friend informs me she feels it in the solar plexus. Why not depictions of butterflies, roller coasters and eh..plexi?

What the traditional heart shape actually depicts is another question. It certainly doesn’t look like a human heart. Some people claim that it actually depicts the heart of a cow. Others say it depict parts of the female body (human), such as buttocks or a ”frontbum”. It may also resemble the inverted image of a load of bullocks.

Heart shaped Meringues


  • 3 eggwhite
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 g caster sugar

Fluff the eggs in a mixer. (Make sure there is no water involved). Add the salt. Gently fold in the sugar. They are ready when you can turn the bowl upside down – without being covered in goo. Shape them into hearts on parchment paper. Bake for 2-3 hours. Carefully remove from the tray without breaking them. Join two similar hearts together with ice-cream inside. I ♥ a good match.

Everybody Hurts Haiti

Are we helping or hindering? Why do we give to charity? Because we are good and giving makes us feel good.

Just as the traumatised earthquake victims in Haiti recovered from John Travolta and his Scientologist night fever— ready to help out with billions of tiny, evil aliens. In steps Lindsay, who is going to donate profits from her leggings. Leggings For Haitian Relief.
Ten Americans have just been jailed for trying to illegally take 33 children out of the country—most of whom had parents. Their actions are an example of a very special kind of charity. “God is the one who called us to come here.” was the motivation behind their good deed of child trafficking…
Simon Cowell hasty remake of “Everybody hurts”  includes vocals by Leona Lewis, Mariah Carey, Jon Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, James Morrison, Susan Boyle, and Westlife. It’s obviously not aimed at Haitian ears. To tell the bereaved, injured and homeless to “hang on” and “sing along” when “everything is wrong.” is too much too take or give, even for Simon.
But hey – a good cause seem to excuse a lot these days.
Paul I Corinthinans: “Charity is patient, charity is kind; It does not envy, it does not boast, is not puffed up.” We are human, and to be human is to congratulate ourselves on our righteousness. And I have to say my fritters are delicious.

Haitian Sweet Corn Fritters


  • fresh cob kernels
  • 150g flour
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25ml milk

Mix the flour, corn, eggs and milk together in a bowl and season.
 Gently fold in the corn. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Pour in tablespoon measures of the mixture to form individual round fritters. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel. Serve and do your bit to help Haiti.

The German East West divide – still alive and kicking

Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall came down.

German unification was understood by many as East Germany being taken over by West Germany. West Germany therefore “winning“. Proving that the West German way of life was somehow better…

But more than 40 percent of West Germans have never travelled to the former East. At the same time, Ostalgie – odd nostalgia for the old East Germany – manifested through a yearning for old gherkin jars and generally off tasting culinary goods spread among the former citizens of the most spied-on state in history.

Cut off by the wall two Germanies existed side by side, each developing their own cuisine in parallel worlds.

But on 3 magical November nights in 2009, 2 mouthwatering menus are telling the story of a divided Germany and  analysing which sight was tastier…

menu pop up berlin

Rachel surveying last minute prep


IMG_0082IMG_0092IMG_0107 1IMG_0117IMG_0152IMG_0181IMG_0286IMG_0179

Gherkin soup with sour cream and dill for the Eastern Sektor.


Lobster soup with Crème fraîche and dill for the West.


One of the poor guys who made it into the soup.


The secret food parcels, rape seed oil for the East,

Butter for the West with homemade poppyseed & carewayseed bread.


Spicy Solyianka for the comrades…


was served with a generous shot of Żubrówka.


Maultaschen on a bed of Sauerkraut in the West.


Sauerbraten, marinated pot roast competed…


against Koenigsberger Kloepse with anchovy and caper sauce.


The West was supported with a little light palette cleanser, cucumber smothered in yoghurt and sumac, a greeting from Turkey.


The East showed off its exotic friends with a vietnamese salad: Green papaya, carrots soybean sprouts sprinkled with roasted sesame and peanuts. I managed to get original Palace of the Republic plates to serve this dish on.

Champagne was served for the grand final standoff:


Homemade Stollen Ice cream vs. the creme de la creme of German culinary heights: Schwarzwaelderkirschtorte made with Fabbri Amarena cherries. After breaking through Rachel’s amazing caramelised barbed wire, each side reached the culinary highlight of the other.


And the wall came tumbling down. We all have been looking for freedom.

David at the wall.

BBC Austria

The leader of the British National Party has appeared as a panellist on Question Time on BBC1. This is surely only meant to be viewingfigurebustingtellyentertainment. But one should be more careful.

The far right is on the march again.

In Austria’s recent general election, nearly 30 per cent of voters backed extremist right-wing parties. Facism in the birthplace of Hitler is as de rigueur as bold shoulderpads in Shoreditch.

Austria, you wonderful tumour of a place. Tucked in snuggly between Germany and Italy; yet exotic. Go in winter and you encounter fur clad dachshund-stroking pensioners who spend their time ranting about the Turks, the Bulgarians, the Polacks, the Pakis, the Jappos, the Jambo Jambos, ….

Austria gave us Schnitzel, Hitler and Mozart.

The British gave us Curry.

The U.K. is not a country that provides a platform for fascists and holocaust deniers. Jade Goody was until now as primetime racist as it got.

What were they thinking to seriously question someone who should not be given the time of day? Especially not on Question time?

Some people don’t deserve the freedom of speech. Nick Griffin is  an Austrian at heart and I bet he enjoys a good Schnitzel.


Schnitzel with Potato Salad

  • 2 organic chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • flour
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon

for the potato salad:

Cook new potatoes and dress with vinegar, mustard and dill.

Beat the chicken as hard as you can with a mallet until thin.

Roll chicken in flour.

Dip chicken in egg and then roll in breadcrumbs.

Fry in hot oil until brown.

Salt and pepper chicken and serve with the potato salad and a slice of lemon.

Black Eyed Peace

Obama got the Nobel Peace Price! What next? Americas Next Top model? Canonise him? Not that he won’t deserve it. But the speed did surprise even him. His expression was that of somebody expecting to be busted by Candid Camera. Just after sending additional troops to Afghanistan.
But he stands for “change in the international climate.
“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.” . For Christ’s sake, Jesus didn’t get one. Neither did Bono or Saint Bob. (Geldof).

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize simply for not being George Bush.
No one has time any more for legends to evolve. ‘Let’s give it to him now. He will deserve it anyway.’ This prize has the stale aftertaste of a hastily eaten fast-food burger. Too soon, too much, too easy.

I am wary of worshiping leaders. Never a good idea. But let’s hope he gets the chance to earn it retrospectively. Let him get on with things.

Black Eyed Peas with creamed Chestnut Mushrooms and Goats Curd


After having amazing lentils with creamed girolles and goats curd at the holy grail (St. John’s) I’m in love with the goat and mushrooms combo. I trailed up and down Broadway market to get some Chanterelle/Girolles/Pfifferlingi but the East End of London isn’t gentile enough yet for that kind of fungus. So I got some chestnut mushrooms instead.

  • 200g Black Eye Peas
  • Chestnut Mushrooms
  • Goats curd
  • chopped Parsley
  • Toasted Rye or Sourdough bread

Clean the mushrooms with a brush, slice them thinly and fry in butter. Add the goats curd. Serve over a bed of Black Eye Peas. I never cooked with them before but they have a nice soft buttery texture. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped Parsley and give peace a chance.

A Greek tragedy

Athens is burning. The ancient ruins of Marathon are under threat, but the Greek Government has done nothing to improve fire protection since the blazes of August 2007 that killed 70 people and devastated vast forests.

Athens continued to be an emergency zone today, as the Greek Government put into effect Operation Xenocrates, its disaster relief plan.

The cradle of European civilisation should know how to deal with something as ancient as fire. After all they “invented” it.*
They gave us democracy, an alphabet, drama, mathematics and philosophy – you’d think they’re able to handle a fire extinguisher.

*Prometheus, a Titan, stole the sacred fire from Zeus and the Gods and gave it to us mortals.
Zeus then punished him by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. (Endless punishment)
They should have learned their lesson by now…

Lamb Souvlaki with Tzatziki


  • 2 lemons
  • leg or shoulder of lamb, cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • for the tzatziki

    • Yoghurt
    • Half a cucumber
    • Salt and Pepper

    Marinate the lamb with garlic, lemon zest, olive oil . Mix well and season. Cover with cling film and leave if possible overnight in the fridge.
    Light a fire.
    Thread the pieces of lamb on to skewers, alternate chunks of lemon, onions and green pepper. Brush with some of the lemon and oil marinade and throw into the flames.
    Grate the cucumber, add a few tablespoons of yoghurt and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. I  leave the raw garlic out as it burns like fire.

    Barbecue Summer Hoax

    What a bunch of mierda del toro! We’ve been fooled. Again. The forecast for the mega-summer-super-scorcher, linen inclusive, had to be revised! Niente BBQ, mucho propaganda del B&Q!
    It’s official. The Met office made it up. A guy called Dave looked up at the sky and said “This is going to be a barbecue summer!’  He even made the phrase up: Barbecue Summer! And how we  believed him. It was back in May during a reasonable sunny week in the midst of swine flu panic and recession angst.  We just bought into it. It lifted our spirits and sales of garden-everything. 5 million staycations promptly booked, charcoal schlepped… only to freeze around the kitchen table having cups of tea.

    But summer is only a state of mind.

    Paella con rain, mucho

    • olive oil
    • large Spanish onions, finely chopped
    • red and yellow peppers
    • sweet paprika
    • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • vegetable stock
    • a pinch of saffron ~ 40 threads
    • 250g bomba paella rice
    • Your favourite summer CD

    Heat the oil in a frying pan, and soften the onions and peppers. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic.  Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and add the saffron to infuse. Add the rice and paprika to the vegetables in the pan. Stir the rice well for 2 minutes so it gets a proper coating with oil. Put the CD on, turn up the heating up, pour in the stock and some sherry if you like. Cook until the stock has been absorbed into the rice.
    Serve with chopped flat-leaf parsley and lemon cut into wedges, and a huge glass of Rioja. Wear flip flops and sunglasses. Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in….


    Swine flu – the antidote

    Let’s freak out and panic. We all are going to get swine flu. So should I just get it now or be brave and fight it off ’til the bitter end?

    Not usually prone to panic, I holed myself up and avoided everyone who as much as sneezed. It might be a secret symptom. You never now what these governments are keeping from us. Apparently it’s as mild as a normal flu. But what’s all the fuss about then?

    The name already suggests something sneaky. Swine has German origins. (The name not the species, although judging by the amount of pork eaten, the species might have German origin too.)                            

    In Germany Schwein is the harshest insult one can bestow on someone. Even worse: Du Schweinehund! The expression to fight off your inner swinehound is used in German to wrestle your inner enemy – the one that makes you passive. (Your inner lazy bastard)

    Maybe that’s what this flu is trying to teach us. This is not about being calm and passive. It’s time to bring out the survival fighter in us. Let’s be proactive. CUT OFF ALL CONTACT TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Break into the tamiflu  distribution centre and get your ration now or order it online

    Is this payback time for all the bacon and pork crackling we’ve eaten? Bloody swine! Remember Animal Farm and Napoleon? Pigs are prone for revenge. But their butchery skills are inferior.

    Lets exorcise our inner swine hound and roast it. For 6 hours. The meat of an infected animal poses no risk of infection when properly cooked.

    Roast pork knuckle with fennel and anchovies

    (This recipe feeds only 2. These are not times for socializing.)

    • 2 bulbs of fennel
    • 1 pork knuckle
    • 2 potatoes
    • 2 tins of anchovies
    • 200 ml vegetable stock

    Season the pork knuckle with salt and pepper and place in a roasting tin. Arrange the fennel and potato around the pork. Add 200 ml of vegetable stock. Fry the anchovies in a pan until they form a paste and pour over the pork. Roast for 5 hours at 120 and turn up to full blast for the last hour.

    And this little piggy cried “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way home.

    beforre pig
    after pig